There was no truth to speculation that Jarvis Landry’s GiveBack camp Friday at his alma mater, Lutcher High School, was pushed up a week so the former LSU wide receiver could be closer to Miami for a potential contract extension from the Dolphins.
For one thing, when Landry, now headed into his fourth NFL season, said last week that there will be no negotiations once the season begins, he meant by the regular season opener Sept. 10, not the start of training camp. So that deadline is still several weeks away.
Demarius Bilbo, Landry’s agent, said the Dolphins have not even made an offer, although there have been “respectful and businesslike” negotiations.
Also, Landry will be spend the latter part of this week in Los Angeles, making appearances on the NFL Network and doing commercial promotions for "Monday Night Football," followed by some last-minute R&R with girlfriend Estrella Cerqueira and their seven-month-old daughter, Joy Maria.
Estrella and Joy Maria were on hand Friday. The baby got plenty of attention from family members, especially grandmother Dietra.
“I never miss a chance to come home,” said Landry, who, in addition leading a hands-on clinic for the more than 100 youngsters, gave away backpacks filled with school supplies plus a $5,000 scholarship check to recent Lutcher grad Sloan Brignac, who will be a freshman at Loyola this fall.
“The contract stuff is in God’s plan and will take care of itself. It’s not going to affect my attitude about how I play or doing anything that keeps me from leading my team to the Super Bowl.”
Most would say a Super Bowl is a long shot for the Dolphins. Despite going 10-6 last season and making the playoffs for the first time 2008, the Las Vegas line for 2017 is 7½ victories.
At any rate, the visit to L.A. reflects Landry’s growing profile as one of the NFL’s top receivers.
Last week, Landry debuted his designer backpack in Miami (his campers received less-expensive but still custom-designed ones), and he’s arguably the most popular professional athlete in South Florida.
He also represented the team in London promoting a game against the Saints.
“Juice (Landry’s nickname) can’t go anywhere without 20 people wanting to have their picture made with him,” said older brother Gerard Landry, who takes care of many of Jarvis’ personal affairs while continuing to work as a juvenile probation officer in East Baton Rouge Parish. “The other night, we were at an event for the (baseball) All-Star game and Jamie Foxx yells out, 'Hey! There’s Jarvis Landry!’ ”
Landry has the numbers, too.
His 288 receptions are tied for the most ever for an NFL player through his first three seasons three seasons. Improbably, the other player at 288 is Odell Beckham Jr., Landry’s teammate and roommate at LSU, who’s also looking for a big future payday.
“When you’re the leader of a team, it’s important that you always set the right example, and you can’t do that if you’re not there,” said Landry, perhaps unintentionally referencing Beckham’s skipping part of OTAs with the New York Giants this spring. “I’m going to continue to work to build more trust among the guys.
“Hopefully the organization will see that as part of my value to the organization.”
Certainly Landry, who at $893,850 for 2017 will rank No. 107 among receivers this season, should be getting his money.
If there’s no contract agreement, Miami can put the franchise tag on him for 2018, much as the Giants are expected to do with Beckham, meaning Landry can be looking at a $15 million payday next season and either free agency or another bump in 2019.
In a year when Landry, Beckham, Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins and Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins are all going into their fourth seasons, their teams may be waiting for someone to set the market.
Landry’s lack of touchdowns is already been used by some — probably fantasy players — to diminish his value.
In that case, they could improbably let Landry walk, especially if his productivity should drop this season or if he suffers an injury.
“A player doesn’t get to be in Jarvis’ position very often in his career and capitalize what he’s done on the field,” Bilbo said. “And Jarvis’ value to the Dolphins is much more than just as a football player because his leadership energizes the entire team.
“But we also recognize that Dolphins have to manage the salary cap, which is tough to do because everybody wants to get paid. At the end of the day, at long as it’s fair, we’ll be happy.”
And money aside, Landry has his personal goals, including keeping up with Beckham on the field. They’re already only 54 shy of Anquan Bolden’s league record for the most receptions through four seasons.
“We go back and forth all the time,” Landry said. “Each week we check each other’s numbers, and yeah, I probably want to have the record as much as he does.
“All of this has been pretty amazing to me. I just want to keep playing until they tell me I can’t do it anymore.”
And doing it for a lot money as well.